Are you looking for ways to help your students make connections between the numerals they see and the number words they hear?
You’d think it would be easy peasy after your students learn to identify the numerals 0 to 10.
But then, along come the tricky teens, particularly eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fifteen. And quickly following on their heels some thorny tens, mainly twenty, thirty, and fifty.
What Makes Identifying These Numerals So Confusing?
Well surprisingly, it seems to be the irregularities of the English language!
It starts with the teen number words. Instead of saying one ten, we say teen.
Eleven and twelve don’t even include the syllable teen even though they represent one ten and some more.
For the teens, we say number words that reverse the order of the digits we see. We don’t say ten four when we see 14, we say fourteen.
In place of three-teen and five-teen, we have thirteen and fifteen.
Moving to the twenties and beyond…
Now, at least, the order of the number words we say matches the place of the digits we see (forty-two and 42). Ten is now represented with the suffix -ty. In place of four tens, we say forty. That’s easy enough!
But then (you know there’s got to be a but), two tens becomes twenty.
At least thirteen, thirty, and third are consistent as are fifteen, fifty, and fifth. But goodness gracious, twelve, and twenty are only left with the “tw” in common. And the word second will leave you scratching your head.
Ways to Help Students Connect Numerals to Number Words
Make explicit language connections. Your students need to know that teen and -ty mean the same as ten.
Play with the language.
Two tens ought to be two-ty. But oh, no it’s not. It’s twenty.
Three tens ought to be three-ty. But oh no it’s not. It’s thirty.
Five tens ought to be five-ty. But oh no it’s not. It’s fifty.
(I couldn’t find one but surely there’s a teacher who has created a catchy poem or song for this!)
Demonstrate the consistent visual patterns of numerals. The pattern of increasing tens and ones can best be illustrated with a vertical number line. I had one with 0 to 100, floor to ceiling, on a classroom wall.
The photo only shows vertical number lines to 12 or 20. They were all I had handy. I also used them for teaching addition and subtraction strategies.
Provide plenty of opportunities for your students to count and group objects beyond ten. Be explicit. Show the relationships between the objects we count to the words we say to the numerals we write.
After all the concept development, your students will be ready for this spring-themed resource with numbers in the twenties and thirties. Try it with small groups of 2 to 4 students. (You can adapt it for a single student or a large group.)
Use this activity for morning work, in a math center, or with your small instructional groups.
Get “Flowers in Bloom For Numerals 20-39” Prepared
There are 4 different activity mats. Each mat has a garden with 10 tulips. Each tulip has a numeral (20-39) on it.
There are 18 cards with the numbers 20-39 represented by wormy ten frames and extra ones.
YOU WILL NEED:
- One copy of the activity mat for each participating student
- One or more sets of the cards
- Crayons or counters
Choose color or black/ white. Print the black/ white mats on paper to use with crayons.
The color or black/ white mats can be printed on card stock and laminated for reuse. Use counters to cover. Try erasers, buttons, gems, or any one-inch or so counters that you have handy.
You can also use one and two-inch-sized Measuring WormsTM.
Print the cards on card stock and laminate for durability. Prepare one or two sets for 2 students and two sets for 3 to 4 students. Cut out the cards.
Get “Em” Engaged With “Flowers in Bloom”
Shuffle the cards. Place them in a stack, a messy pile, or a decorative container. A flower pot fits perfectly with the theme!
- Draw a card.
- Determine the number. Say the number word.
- Look for the corresponding numeral on their mat.
- If the numeral is on the mat, color or place a counter on that tulip.
- If the numeral is already colored or covered, you lose your turn.
- Discard your card.
- Take turns.
- Reshuffle the discarded cards, as needed.
Who can be the first one to color or cover all your tulips?
Click on the highlighted words to download your free copy of Flowers in Bloom for Numerals 20-39.
Do you have any helpful ideas for teaching these thorny tens? Be sure to share in the comments below!
LOOKING FOR MORE RESOURCES…
If you’re teaching about gardens and plants, you’re going to want…
Oreo Dirt Cups Recipe (Modern Meal Makeover)
Books About Worms (Growing Book By Book)
Books About Seeds (Gift of Curiosity)
Paper Plate & Paint Splat Tulip (Glued To My Crafts)
Plastic Cup Greenhouses (Mama.Papa.Bubba.)
Seed Experiments (Gift of Curiosity) (Scroll down in this post to click on more seed experiments.)
Photo in title image by Cherkas Photography.